Renault updates an 'important' breakthrough
Nico Hulkenberg says the success of Renault's recent update package marks an "important" breakthrough for the team in its bid to challenge Formula 1's top outfits.
Recent developments, including a new floor that first arrived at the British Grand Prix, have helped propel the team towards the front of the midfield battle in pace terms.
Hulkenberg was sixth in last month's Silverstone race, and the only driver outside of F1's top three teams to finish on the lead lap.
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Renault is still eighth in the constructors' championship, but Hulkenberg said the correlation between predicted factory improvements and on-track gains with its update package was a significant milestone in the manufacturer's progress this season.
"It's important. It's encouraging," said Hulkenberg, when asked about the importance of the package's success.
"I've had that for many years: promise, promise, bring the update and it actually didn't do anything. We tried to extract something and it was never there.
"Then I've had the last two years at Force India - it was always working as promised and a big step forward.
"Again, this year it seems the same.
"It has to be like this if you want to play with the big players, if you want to make big progress.
"It's important also that the correlation is there, between CFD, windtunnel and track, that it all works together. That's vital to clear developments."
Hulkenberg said the next two rounds after the summer break - at the power-dependant Spa and Monza circuits - would hide some of Renault's gains, but was still optimistic that the progress the team had made would be evident.
"Of course you gain momentum if you have good performance," he said.
"Naturally it supplies momentum and good vibes and positive feelings.
"After the summer break in Spa/Monza, they are two massive power tracks, so it might be a bit more tricky there.
"But in terms of grip, balance, that sort of thing, I think we made a good step forward.
"It will be interesting to see, but that remains the ambition and the target this year, to push ourselves there."